Three-bedroom flat could cost €36,000 more under EU climate change rules

PN candidate Peter Agius: ‘Zero emission buildings: yes, but let’s not put the cost of climate change on first-time buyers’

The European Parliament will this week vote on its first position on a revised Directive on the energy performance of buildings, that will create expensive obligations for homeowners.

The existing directive sets an obligation for EPC – energy performance – certificates, but without legal obligations to reduce emissions. The new revised Directive being voted on this week will set obligatory and binding requirements for all new buildings to be zero-emission by 2028, with renovation targets for existing buildings to increase energy performance.

“This will mean a radical shakeup of the way we build and finish properties in Malta,” said PN candidate for Europe Peter Agius, who said the Directive’s key principle is for houses to be no impact for climate change. “Wall, floor and ceiling insulation as well as smart lighting and solar panels will need to become the standard rather than an add-up for those who could afford them,” Agius said.

Agius published detailed costings by an architectural studio estimating the costs of compliance to the new EU directive in Malta, expected to reach €36,000 for a three-bedroom apartment.

He said that by 2028, the extra costs would comprise €5,000 in thermal and double-glazing, €3,000 in smart lighting, €6,000 in solar panels and €3,000 for a heat pump, €8,000 in wall insulation, and €11,000 in ground and ceiling insulation.

“As a country, it is in our interest to be part of the fight against climate change. Initial capital investments in property improvements will be offset in due time, however, we must be vigilant not to pass on the full cost of climate change on the upcoming generations,” Agius said.

Agius has called on the Maltese government to devise a national set of incentives to usher in the era of zero emissions buildings in a way that also carries a big part of the extra costs to be borne by first-time buyers. “It is already hard as it is right now to buy a property for young people in Malta. Let us make sure that the new European initiatives do not make this impossible. Zero emissions buildings, yes, but let’s not put the cost of climate change on first-time buyers,” Agius said.